American basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, died in a helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas, California along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people.
According to reports, the 41-year-old former athlete was traveling in a private helicopter when the vehicle crashed and exploded. Apart from Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, the identities of the other victims have not been disclosed.
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The US National Basketball Association said they were “deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,”.
” Kobe showed us what is possible when extraordinary talent meets utmost devotion to win,” said the NBA.
The five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers is considered one of the greatest players in the history of basketball.
What do we know about the accident?
According to a statement by the Calabasas City government, “the vehicle crashed in the remote Las Virgenes open field at around 10:00 this morning. No people on the ground were injured.”
Gavin Masak, a local resident, told CBS News the seconds after the helicopter crashed.
“It sounded not exactly like an explosion, but like a loud thud. It sounded like a helicopter, but like a jet, very loud. I then went into the house and told my father what was going on. When I went outside, I saw smoke on the hill, but it wasn’t. black and large smoke, the color is gray, “said Cook.
A number of other eyewitnesses told the TMZ website that they heard the sound of the helicopter engine buzzing before it crashed.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department displayed photos at the scene, which showed a fire truck and smoke rising from a hill.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter that crashed was a Sikorsky S-76 type. The agency said it was investigating the incident together with the National Transportation Safety Agency.
Who is Kobe Bryant?
His achievements include the NBA’s best player (MVP) award in 2008 and two times the best player at the NBA finals. He also made two appearances as the NBA’s top scorer and twice as a member of the US basketball team who won the Olympic gold medal.
In 2006, he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest record in NBA history in a single game.
Off the basketball court, he won an Oscar in 2018 for Dear Basketball, a short animated film based on his love letter to basketball he wrote in 2015.
Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, have four daughters, Gianna, Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
Despite his achievements, Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2003 by a 19-year-old woman who worked at a resort in Colorado.
Bryant denied the allegations, saying he and the woman had consensual sex. The case fell after the woman refused to testify in court.
Later Bryant apologized and stated that he realized “he [the woman] did not look at this incident the same way I did.” Peace was then reached outside the court.
How’s the reaction?
Various sports stars wrote their comments on social media after news about Bryant broke.
Shaquille O’Neal , who co-operated with Bryant at the LA Lakers between 1996 and 2004, says there are “no words to describe the pain I’m going through”.
“I love you and you will be missed,” O’Neal wrote accompanied by a photo of himself and Kobebryant in Lakers uniform.
Usain Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medalist, said he could not believe what was happening.